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WORLD
October 13, 2002 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
The search of Amar Gul's hut was yielding little until Pfc. Andrew Johnson happened to notice a poster on the mud-brick wall. There, smiling benevolently, was the face of Osama bin Laden. "Hey, sergeant, you gotta see this!" Johnson shouted to his squad leader, Sgt. 1st Class Wylie Hutchison. Hutchison confronted Gul, a tall ethnic Pushtun with a wild black beard. Gul claimed that the poster belonged to his uncle.
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WORLD
February 19, 2013 | By Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Civilian deaths in the war in Afghanistan dropped in 2012 for the first time in six years, a sign of lessening hostilities, but insurgents dramatically expanded their campaign of assassinating government supporters, the United Nations said Tuesday. The annual U.N. report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan documented a 12% decline in deaths, largely because of fewer ground operations, new limits on airstrikes by U.S.-led coalition forces and fewer suicide bombings by insurgents.
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NEWS
June 29, 2011 | By Ken Dilanian
The Obama administration has concluded in a newly released counter-terrorism strategy that precision strikes and raids, rather than large land wars, are the most effective way to defeat Al Qaeda. “Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday unveiling the new strategy. “Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.” Brennan, a longtime former CIA officer, spoke at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, as the White House posted the new strategy on its website.
OPINION
January 15, 2013 | By Max Boot
During the Vietnam War, Sen. George Aiken, a Vermont Republican, was famous for suggesting that we declare victory and go home. (What he actually said is a little more nuanced, but that was the popular perception.) President Obama seems to be pursuing a version of this strategy in Afghanistan. At least that is the inference one can draw from his claims of success at a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday in which the two leaders unveiled an acceleration of the timetable for U.S. troops to step back from combat.
WORLD
December 22, 2011 | By David S. Cloud and Laura King, Los Angeles Times
  A Pentagon investigation of an airstrike last month that killed 24 Pakistani troops found that the U.S. failed to verify the location of Pakistani units before ordering the attack, but also blamed Pakistani soldiers for starting the fighting. The findings released Thursday are the first public acknowledgment by the United States that its mistakes contributed to the deaths, a position aggressively asserted by Pakistan. By also faulting Pakistan the Pentagon report is likely to prolong the tense standoff between the two nations.
NATIONAL
June 30, 2011 | By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
Precision strikes and raids, rather than large land wars, are the most effective way to defeat Al Qaeda, the Obama administration has concluded in a newly released counter-terrorism strategy. "Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment," John Brennan, President Obama's counter-terrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday detailing the new strategy. "Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won't always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us. " Brennan, a longtime former CIA officer, spoke at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, as the White House posted the new strategy on its website.
NATIONAL
December 14, 2009 | By Sebastian Rotella
Discussing in strikingly personal terms his order to escalate the war in Afghanistan, President Obama said Sunday that sending 30,000 new combat troops was the hardest decision of his presidency so far. Obama called his Dec. 1 speech at West Point announcing the deployment the "most emotional speech I've made." "I was looking out over a group of cadets, some of whom were going to be deployed in Afghanistan," Obama said in a "60 Minutes" interview taped Dec. 7 and broadcast Sunday night, for which CBS provided a transcript.
WORLD
August 18, 2010 | By Laura King and Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
The Obama administration on Tuesday delivered what might be its toughest warning yet to President Hamid Karzai over corruption in his government through a messenger who in the past has managed to forge a rapport with the mercurial Afghan leader in times of tension. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, flew in for a one-day visit to the Afghan capital that included two sessions with Karzai, whose relations with the United States have plunged to a low not seen since last summer's fraud-riddled presidential election.
WORLD
March 12, 2011 | By Mark Magnier, Barbara Demick and Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times
Japan's most punishing earthquake on record and the devastating tsunami it triggered plunged the heart of the densely populated island nation into an apocalyptic scene of blazing buildings, cratered highways, waterborne rubble and frenzied efforts to avert radiation leaks at damaged nuclear power plants. Japan Broadcasting Corp. said more than 1,000 people had died, mostly in the northeastern part of the country. The death toll is expected to rise once disaster-response teams reach the hardest-hit areas and assess casualties, the National Police Agency and Defense Ministry said Saturday.The force of the magnitude 8.9 quake, which seismologists said released 1,000 times the energy of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, broke the foundations under homes and buildings and opened chasms in fields and pavement, swallowing cars and shearing off sidewalks and driveways.
WORLD
September 14, 2011 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
A sophisticated and wide-ranging assault against the principal symbols of Western power in Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday demonstrated the insurgency's ability to strike with impunity at even the country's most heavily fortified areas. At least six Afghans were reported killed in attacks that skittered across the city, police said, in one of the most high-profile series of strikes in Kabul in the course of the nearly decade-old war. The daytime barrage of rockets and gunfire aimed primarily at the "green zone" — a fortress-like area containing the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, among other facilities — came just two days after the 10th anniversary of the Sept.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 21, 2012 | By Phil Willon and Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times
Federal agents' use of a paid informant to ensnare four Southern Californians plotting to join Al Qaeda is expected to be a focus of their defense against federal terrorism charges, allegations that continue to mystify family, friends and local Muslim leaders. An attorney for one of the suspects on Wednesday criticized the case for hinging on evidence gathered by a confidential informant who had been convicted of drug-related charges. The informant, who received $250,000 from the FBI and "immigration benefits" for his work over the four years, infiltrated the group in March and wore recording devices that provided evidence crucial to the case.
OPINION
October 18, 2012 | Meghan Daum
There goes Madonna, classing up the joint again. To show her support of Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot and critically wounded by the Taliban because of her advocacy for girls' education, the Material Girl (a.k.a. Madge, Esther, the Queen of Pop, the Hottest Bod in the AARP) took the opportunity during a recent concert at L.A.'s Staple Center to pull her pants down and reveal a (fake) tattoo of the girl's name inked across the small of her back. Take that, Taliban!
OPINION
May 29, 2012 | By Dilip Hiro
If the 11-year war against jihadist terrorism is to succeed, then its leaders must change their approach. So far, the U.S. and its NATO allies have approached jihadist violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single problem, to be met with a single strategy. But success will require a more nuanced parsing of who is conducting jihad and why, because the jihadists are not a homogenous group. An Arabic word, "jihad" has a broad range of meaning. It can refer to an individual Muslim's internal struggle to adhere more faithfully to the teachings of Islam or, at the other extreme, to a holy war waged against external forces threatening Islam.
OPINION
February 24, 2012 | By Max Boot
What is the logic behind the Obama administration's policy toward Afghanistan? On its face, it makes no sense. In 2009, President Obama ordered a major buildup of forces to counter alarming gains by the Taliban and the Haqqani network. The number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan increased from 34,000 when he took office to nearly 100,000 in 2010. To oversee the buildup he sent two top Army generals, Stanley A. McChrystal and then David H. Petraeus, to design and implement a comprehensive counterinsurgency plan that the president signed off on. In June of last year, however, Obama announced that 32,000 "surge" troops would come home by September 2012 - earlier than Petraeus and his superiors judged prudent.
WORLD
December 22, 2011 | By David S. Cloud and Laura King, Los Angeles Times
  A Pentagon investigation of an airstrike last month that killed 24 Pakistani troops found that the U.S. failed to verify the location of Pakistani units before ordering the attack, but also blamed Pakistani soldiers for starting the fighting. The findings released Thursday are the first public acknowledgment by the United States that its mistakes contributed to the deaths, a position aggressively asserted by Pakistan. By also faulting Pakistan the Pentagon report is likely to prolong the tense standoff between the two nations.
WORLD
October 17, 2011
LONDON (AP) — A small town that honored British soldiers killed in Afghanistan as their bodies were returned home received a royal title Sunday for its compassion — the first such honor granted to a town in over 100 years. Princess Anne delivered the Letters Patent — official documents from her mother Queen Elizabeth II — to the town of Wootton Bassett, giving it official permission to change its name to Royal Wootton Bassett. The bodies of soldiers killed in Afghanistan used to be repatriated to the RAF Lyneham airbase near Wootton Bassett, 85 miles (135 kilometers)
WORLD
August 11, 2011 | By Alex Rodriguez and Nasir Khan, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A coordinated attack involving a remote-control bomb blast and a female suicide bomber killed seven people in Peshawar on Thursday, ending a stretch of relative calm in the volatile northwest city. The blasts occurred at a police checkpoint in the city of 1.4 million people perched on the edge of Pakistan's tribal belt along the Afghan border, where Taliban militants and their allies maintain strongholds. Plagued by scores of suicide bomb attacks in recent years, Peshawar has seen a lull in militant violence in the last few weeks.
WORLD
November 22, 2010 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
The Taliban on Sunday scoffed at NATO plans to hand over most security responsibilities to Afghan forces in the coming three years while retaining an option to keep international troops in the country beyond that time if necessary. In a statement issued the day after the military alliance wrapped up a summit in Lisbon, the Islamist movement also denounced the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, saying it had no legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people. "In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul, and they will never be able to do so in the future," said the statement, which was e-mailed to journalists and posted on the group's website.
WORLD
September 14, 2011 | By Laura King, Los Angeles Times
A sophisticated and wide-ranging assault against the principal symbols of Western power in Afghanistan's capital on Tuesday demonstrated the insurgency's ability to strike with impunity at even the country's most heavily fortified areas. At least six Afghans were reported killed in attacks that skittered across the city, police said, in one of the most high-profile series of strikes in Kabul in the course of the nearly decade-old war. The daytime barrage of rockets and gunfire aimed primarily at the "green zone" — a fortress-like area containing the U.S. Embassy and the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, among other facilities — came just two days after the 10th anniversary of the Sept.
WORLD
September 8, 2011 | By Alex Rodriguez and Nasir Khan, Los Angeles Times
Police are investigating whether a twin suicide bombing at the home of a top paramilitary official that killed at least 23 people in Quetta on Wednesday is linked to the recent arrest of three top Al Qaeda operatives in the Pakistani city. Brig. Farrukh Shahzad, deputy head of the Frontier Corps paramilitary force for Baluchistan province, survived the morning attack but his wife was killed, police officials in the southern city said. More than 50 people were injured in the blasts.
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